Glass vs Stainless Steel Railing: Which Material Offers the Best Value?

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Railings serve a primary function of ensuring safety. However, while their functionality remains paramount, they can also contribute to the overall aesthetic appeal of a design, making a lasting impression. Two distinct railing options, namely glass and stainless steel railing, offer distinctive design aesthetics without sacrificing safety.

The cost of a project can vary depending on factors such as the project's scale, customization options, and materials utilized. Which material option provides the most value for your budget?

Modern Glass Railings

Glass railings provide a contemporary visual appeal, allowing for improved visibility compared to alternative infill options. When combined with aluminum, glass railings deliver an unparalleled combination of modern safety and style.

Glass Railing Pros

Glass railings are a stunning addition to contemporary spaces that not only enhance visibility but also elevate the overall design. Additionally, glass railings offer the added benefit of customization to meet specific design needs. An excellent example of this is the SB-ISD railings design near Houston, TX, which features glass infills in three distinct shades of red to infuse a sense of excitement and movement in the space.

Moreover, the tempered glass utilized in glass railings is exceptionally robust and provides increased coverage in areas where traditional railings pose a risk to children or pets. Glass is also incredibly durable and can withstand both indoor and outdoor environments

Glass Railing Cons

It is worth noting that glass is susceptible to displaying fingerprints, and due to the larger surface area of glass railings, additional cleaning may be necessary to maintain a smudge-free appearance. Moreover, in outdoor settings, glass railings may pose an unseen hazard to birds and other wildlife. Additionally, it is important to consider that glass may be more expensive compared to other materials due to its premium appeal.

Modern Stainless Steel Railings

Stainless steel railings provide a low-maintenance solution that adds a sleek and contemporary touch to a range of settings, including stairways, walkways, balconies, and decks.

Stainless Steel Railing Pros

Stainless steel railings are renowned for their exceptional durability and require minimal maintenance, primarily periodic cleaning, which can be accomplished swiftly by running a cloth with a mild cleaner along the length of the railing. The infill options for stainless steel railings are diverse, ranging from picket panel systems that emulate traditional balustrades, perforated metal, wire mesh, and cables, and it can be incorporated with wood or used as a freestanding system. All these choices allow for a high degree of customization to create an ideal railing design.

Stainless Steel Railing Cons

Although stainless steel is a low-maintenance material, it is worth noting that it can accumulate fingerprints, necessitating regular cleaning to retain its luster and shine. For projects near the ocean, it is recommended to use marine-grade stainless steel, due to their higher corrosion resistance properties.

Glass and Stainless Steel Railing Design Ideas

The choice between glass or stainless steel railings ultimately depends on individual design preferences and budget constraints, as both options offer limitless design possibilities.

Show Off the Stairs with Glass

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The SHOE™ Glass Railing System is an innovative and visually striking combination of an aluminum glass railing system and aluminum base shoe system that incorporates a glass infill. This unique shoe system is specifically designed to ensure the glass infill seamlessly meets the stairs while allowing the magnificent wood steps to remain the focal point of the design.

Furthermore, our SHOE™ Structural Glass Railing System is ICC-ES 4405 certified, guaranteeing its compliance with the relevant safety standards. This aluminum glass railing system features a patented compression set (US Patent No. 9127474) aluminum base shoe system, providing unmatched structural integrity and longevity. ESR-4405 is the evaluation report issued by ICC Evaluation Service, LLC (ICC-ES), confirming that our SHOE™ Structural Glass Railing System meets the requirements of the International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC).

Incorporate LED Illumination

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Integrating LED illuminated railings into a design can increase the overall cost of the project. However, the benefits of enhanced safety in areas with low lighting, such as highly trafficked night-time areas or areas with limited direct sunlight, make it a worthy investment.

At VIVA Railings, we offer two distinct LED railing systems:

  • The iRAIL™ LED Linear utilizes an ADA-compliant roll-formed slotted rail to hold an LED that provides full-length coverage, regardless of rail length.

  • The iRAIL™ LED Pods incorporate LED pods that can be spaced between 18” and 36” to provide illumination where needed. This system can be integrated into round, square, or rectangular tubular rails.

Incorporating LED illuminated railings into a design adds to the overall cost of the project, but, more importantly, it adds to the overall safety of the space. In areas where low light is a concern such as areas that are highly trafficked at night or areas that aren’t in direct sunlight, LED illuminated railings can offer the light necessary to increase visibility and, therefore, safety.

Choose Perforated Metal for a Signature Style

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Combining a perforated metal infill with a stainless steel railing not only creates a distinctive style but also enhances the safety of the railing system. The FOLD™ Metal Panel Railing System features perforated metal panels available in a diverse range of laser cut patterns, allowing for customization options. The system also offers a choice of aluminum or steel for the panels, along with anodized or powder-coated finishes.

Allow for an Unobstructed View

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The use of a glass infill system offers the advantage of an unobstructed view of the surrounding area and landscape. The SOLO™ Glass Railing System, with its contemporary aesthetic and exceptional quality, is an ideal solution for commercial building atriums and monumental stair railings. Its sleek design enhances the overall appearance of the structure while allowing for maximum visibility.

VIVA Railings Offers Both Glass and Stainless Steel Railings

VIVA Railings offers an extensive selection of railing systems, providing you with the flexibility to choose between a glass or stainless steel railing system that suits your budget and design preferences. Our products are highly customizable, and we offer complete railing solutions that meet building codes, enhance safety, and add to the overall design aesthetic of your space.

Get in touch with our team of experts at VIVA Railings today to explore the cost comparison between glass and stainless steel railing systems and find the perfect solution for your project.


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